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Saudi delegation holds talks with Assad to restore ties

It was reported that both sides reached an agreement to reopen the Saudi embassy in Damascus after an almost ten-year-long dispute.

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A London-based Arabic news outlet, Rai Al Youm, reported that a Saudi delegation headed by the Saudi Intelligence service director, Khaled Al Humaidan, arrived in Damascus to hold talks with Bashar al-Assad. The Vice President for Security Affairs in the Assad government, Ali Al Mamlouk, also attended the meeting, the news website added.

According to high-ranking diplomatic sources, quoted by Rai Al Youm, both sides reached an agreement to reopen the Saudi embassy in Damascus, which was closed in 2012 following the regime’s use of extensive force to suppress anti-government protests in the country and operations on areas, where were densely populated by opponents.

It is expected that the Saudi delegation would turn back to Syria to hold comprehensive meetings after the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. The reopening of the Saudi embassy in Damascus is also planned following the Eid Al Fitr, the news site added.

The Saudi delegation also expressed that its country would welcome Syria’s return to the Arab League and its attendance at the next Arab summit conference in Algeria, according to high-ranking diplomatic sources statements.

This move came amid speculations that Saudi and Iranian officials held secret talks in Iraq. Recently, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said that his country would like to good and distinguished relations with Iran. In response, the Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson stated that dialogue with Saudi Arabia is always welcomed. In this sense, Syria is accepted as one of the significant subjects of dispute between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Not providing further details, the sources who spoke to Rai Al Youm stated that negotiations were fruitful and broke the ice between the two parties.

Meanwhile, it should be noted that Saudi Arabia cut its ties with the Syrian opposition and the High Negotiations Committee, which was based in Riyadh, and closed its official headquarters.

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